Phillies trade rumor: Among teams showing interest in Whit Merrifield
The Phillies and other teams are interested in acquiring Royals utility man Whit Merrifield, although it’s unlikely he gets moved anywhere.
The Phillies rumor mill continues to churn with a new starting pitcher rumor emerging daily. However, we finally have something to discuss outside of a starting pitcher, instead focusing on some of the team’s other needs.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported Thursday afternoon that the Cubs, Braves, and Phillies all are interested in adding Royals utility man Whit Merrifield. Before you start penciling him into the everyday lineup though, Morosi’s report centered on the fact that the Royals don’t plan on dealing Merrifield before the deadline.
Morosi stated that Merrifield’s price tag is extremely high. He is under contract through 2022 with a $10.5 million team option in 2023. The Royals view him as a centerpiece to build their team around as they progress through their rebuild.
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Kansas City is right to view Merrifield as a franchise cornerstone. He leads the league with 132 hits and nine triples this year as well as a .306/.357/.495 line and 123 OPS+. He earned his first career All-Star appearance, and it wasn’t just because every team needs one.
For Philadelphia, adding a player like Merrifield would make plenty of sense. He has played first base, second base, and all three outfield positions this year.
Merrifield has played third base in his career as well. The team values this sort of versatility, especially with conceivable holes at multiple positions.
As a Phillie, Merrifield could plug in well as an upgrade at second base over Cesar Hernandez. This would allow Scott Kingery to either stay in center field or replace Maikel Franco at third base. Or, Merrifield could slide over to third base and hopefully play adequate defense there to replace Franco.
Of course, all that is pretty unlikely as the Royals don’t appear likely to move Merrifield anytime soon. If he does ever become available, expect the Phillies to be in the running for him.